Burger King is known for its buzz-worthy advertising, but this is next level. In a tweet this morning, the company's U.K. account tweeted a request to customers to "Order From McDonald's." And it wasn't joking.
The social-media post is a very real plea on behalf of not just Burger King or McDonald's, but all restaurants. While you might wonder why a fast-food restaurant would want to encourage its followers to frequent a competitor, I think this is actually brilliant for two reasons.
First, restaurants are hurting. Yes, the same can be said for a lot of businesses--that's true--but the unique considerations of serving food has made the pandemic especially tough for restaurants. In many places, they still remain closed for dine-in eating, forcing establishments to get creative in balancing customer orders, safety concerns, and keeping a staff employed.
Sure, some restaurants have slowly started reopening. In some areas they now offer outdoor seating or limited indoor dining. Unfortunately, just because you say you're open doesn't mean people are rushing back to fill your tables.
The problem that a company like Burger King faces isn't that people suddenly started going to McDonald's. People generally make a decision between the two based on preference or convenience. You either go to the one you prefer or you simply stop at whichever is most convenient.
The problem is, people stopped ordering from any of them. In many cases, people have been simply stocking up on food and staying home.
That's not really surprising, but it's a harsh reality for restaurants. In many cases, people are cutting fast food out of their budget as they face uncertainty over their own jobs. In other cases, people are anxious about the potential health risks of restaurants and are avoiding them.
What Burger King knows is that anything that gets people to go out and spend money at a restaurant is good for every restaurant. Right now, restaurants aren't even competing against each other, they're competing against people not spending money on anything.
You could certainly make the argument that people should frequent small, local restaurants instead of giant corporations. Burger King actually makes the same point.
Except, and this seems important, giant companies like McDonald's and Burger King employee thousands of people who are counting on a paycheck. That only comes if people are buying Whoppers and Big Macs.
Finally, I think there's something to be said for using your platform in a way that helps not only your own company but the competition as well. Most companies aren't comfortable with anything that might help a competitor. Most of the time, it's easy to think of competition as a zero-sum game, and the goal becomes beating the other guy.
Maybe--with something as simple as a social-media post--Burger King just managed to show us that sometimes we're all more likely to win together. When we all face the same challenge, there's a better way than simply trying to climb over the competition to the top. That's a message that isn't just easily lost on businesses--it's a reminder we could all use once in a while.
In this case, by using its platform to elevate other brands, Burger King most certainly elevated its own.